By Joshua Mani
THE Bible verses in Mathew 16:24-27 keep Eric Eribiang working as the Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) administration manager.
It reminds him of what the Lord Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”
Eric, 47, has been advised by his family and friends that he is getting old and needs to leave MAF, get another job to support his wife Linda and their eight children.
“They tell me: You don’t earn much. You can get plenty of money if you find a new job. You can have cars, new houses.”
But to Eric, serving the people who need help through the services provided by the MAF is worth more.
“Earning more money or building wealth is meaningless. As the scripture says: I have decided to follow Jesus and there is no turning back.”
Eric joined the MAF in 2007. He covers a wide range of tasks.
“Administration is all about bits and pieces of everything. It ranges from paperwork to sorting out problems. Administration, as some say, is the engine room or nerve center of an organisation where major decisions are made.
If it fails to function, everything will fall apart.”
Eribiang was born on Sept 25, 1973, at Opriel Village in the Nebilyer Valley of Western Highlands. Dad Rotep Wak and mum Maike Ok served as missionaries at a Bible school which Wak established in the early 1970s.
Dad Wak was a Lutheran missionary and received training at Pindu, Morobe. He later retired to spend more time on his coffee-buying business.
Eric started his education at the Mt Hagen International Primary School before moving to the Mt Hagen Primary School.
In 1986, he attended the Mt Hagen Provincial High School (now Mt Hagen Secondary School where he completed grades 7 to10.
He was selected to do grades 11 and 12 at the Kerevat National High School in Rabaul, East New Britain.
Afterwards, he was accepted to pursue a degree programme in Business Studies majoring in Accounting in 1992 at the University of Technology.
“As soon as I finished at Unitech in November 1995, I was selected by the Post and Telecommunication Company to work in its postal division.”
He spent six and a half years there. He then worked for two other companies before joining MAF.
He gets a lot of satisfaction seeing those living in the remotest parts of the country getting much-needed medicine, school supplies and transport through the air services provided by the MAF.
“This is not just an ordinary job. It’s a calling by God to serve his people. There are people out there still living in kunai houses or sago-thatched huts.
They do not have a change of clothes. They only have the clothes they are wearing.”
Eric will continue what he is doing to serve them. He believes that God wants him to.
By Joshua Mani